First Wind held a groundbreaking ceremony to commemorate the start of construction of its 30 MW Kahuku Wind project, the only utility-scale wind energy project on Oahu and one of the largest in Hawaii.
As part of the ceremony, state, local and community leaders joined First Wind at the project site on Oahu's North Shore to recognize the economic and environmental benefits of the project.
Construction of the Kahuku Wind project, which consists of 12 2.5 MW Clipper Liberty wind turbines and was spurred by an expected $117 million loan guarantee from the U.S. Department of Energy, will create immediate economic benefits for Oahu. Among the benefits are employment opportunities during the design, engineering and construction including approximately 200 construction jobs. The loan guarantee is expected to close soon.
Once completed, the project will support the ambitious Hawaiian Clean Energy Initiative, which aims to have 70% of the state's energy for electricity and ground transportation come from clean energy by 2030.
Kahuku Wind will also include a battery energy storage system to assist in meeting performance standards and smoothing fluctuations in wind energy output. The battery storage system was developed by Xtreme Power and will be the largest of its kind in Hawaii. The project will also include a dedicated communication system to connect the wind energy project to Hawaiian Electric Co.'s system operations and dispatch center.
First Wind also built and currently operates Hawaii's largest wind energy facility, the 30 MW Kaheawa Wind Power project in Maui. Kaheawa Wind serves nearly 9% of Maui's annual electricity needs with renewable energy – enough to supply nearly 11,000 households annually.
In other company news, First Wind announced that Jing Hua, a recent graduate of Lahainaluna High School, will receive a $5,000 scholarship for up to four years through the First Wind Scholars program, a company initiative to foster wind-related education.
In addition to the college scholarship, the company offers one-time, $3,000 scholarships to support local high school students. First Wind plans to announce the recipients of the one-time scholarships at the end of July.
SOURCE: First Wind